Is lab-grown meat the real thing?

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News -

A GLOBAL de­mand for pro­tein, an in­no­va­tive food in­dus­try and con­sumers who de­mand sus­tain­able, eth­i­cal meals are be­hind the rise of one of the lat­est culi­nary trends – meat grown in a lab.

Meat that isn’t re­ally meat is not new – plant-based al­ter­na­tives to ground beef such as Quorn mince (made from ed­i­ble fun­gus) have been around for years.

Now there is a new al­ter­na­tive which prom­ises to de­liver the holy grail of meat­less meat by repli­cat­ing the sensory ex­pe­ri­ence of beef.

Lab­o­ra­tory-based or in vitro meat is a cul­tured prod­uct cre­ated from cel­lu­lar ma­te­rial.

Cel­lu­lar agri­cul­ture has po­ten­tial to be an­other com­peti­tor for red meat so MLA is keep­ing a close eye on its evo­lu­tion.

MLA chief mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Lisa Sharp says, while it is early days, lab-grown meat could take some mar­ket share from tra­di­tional pro­duc­tion sys­tems.

“While plant-based prod­ucts boast ve­gan/veg­e­tar­ian at­tributes, lab-grown meat is a dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion – it is meat, but pro­duced in a dif­fer­ent way,” she said. “It asks con­sumers to ac­cept not a sub­sti­tute, but an ar­ti­fi­cial repli­ca­tion.”

The good news for Aus­tralian red meat pro­duc­ers is that they can also de­liver to meet consumer-driven trends.

“Taste is an­other bar­rier, as nat­u­rally pro­duced red meat still boasts an eat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence which lab-based prod­ucts can’t yet de­liver,” Ms Sharp said.

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